Monday, January 30, 2006

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Trail Note: I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Yesterday the reality set in as to why most people run marathons in the fall after training all summer. It's daunting enough to set out on a long run (the longest you've ever done, perhaps, or at least the longest you've done since the last time you were foolish enough to train for a marathon) on a nice sunny summer morning. Setting out on that run when it's raining and 43 degrees tests the limits of dedication. But, I've got 26.2 miles to run on April 17th, and since I'd like to be able to enjoy those miles and not just suffer through them, I'd have to get going on those 16 this weekend. And at least it's not snowy or icy or below freezing.

I've been worried about this run all week. Since October, I'd only run 3 runs longer than 8 miles (two 10-milers and one 14). I was starting to fear that I was ramping up way too quickly and that I'd be injured in no time. How could I be ready to run 16 miles when 10 was so hard for me last weekend? Enough procrastinating; time to get to the run.

So, I finally got started, heading down the usual route to the Burke Gilman trail. I didn't feel bad, actually. I tried to keep the pace slow and easy, aiming for 9 minute miles. I was just feeling warmed up and good when I'd passed the 3 mile point in the U-district and the drizzle was gradually increasing into a real hard rain. I smiled, glad that I'd made the decision to bring my student ID along with me rather than my drivers liscense. After all, while the drivers liscense has my address on it (in case something horrible happens while running and I'm not able to tell someone who I am and where I live), my student ID has my bus pass on the back (more realistic that I'll have to stop running becuase I'm tired or hurt and want to take the bus home). It also lets me into the student gym, which happens to be right off the trail. So as the rain picked up, I jumped on a treadmill for a couple of miles until the rain let up (and I got too sweaty and bored to continue). The rest of the run was wonderfully uneventful and pain free. At one point near the end, I started feeling leg muscles in a way that I hadn't felt since last summer, which was good. It was like they were telling me how much they'd missed these long runs and were anxious to be used a little more.

Some benefits to long runs in the winter:
- No worries about getting up early to beat the heat
- You don't get as dehydrated
- Gel gets really hard and chewy, which is a sticky mess, but kinda yummy, like candy
- Your water/gatoraid stays cold
- The hot shower at the end feels really good

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Family Values

I was doing a little research to see if we'd have to make a special trip to Virginia to get a marriage liscense, and discovered a few interesting facts about who can and can't get married in the Old Dominion State.

Bottom line: you can marry your 16 year old cousin (if your uncle approves), but you can't marry your same sex partner.

Insert your favorite redneck joke here:

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Trail Note: Buzz Kill

I went for a short run this afternoon in a great mood. The sun was shining (!) for the first time in recent memory, my "pain in the butt" wasn't too painful (after a bad 10 miler on Sunday), and I headed out to the Arboretum for a 4 mile lakeside trail run. It started out great: a sighting of Mt. Rainier, amazing views of the Cascades, ducks, with sailors and kayakers enjoying the spring-like afternoon. I headed along the trail, crossing bridges and boardwalks and then I was confronted with two walkers. "No running on this trail," they said, completely blocking the trail. "There are signs banning jogging at both entry points to the trail."

"Okay; I'll take a look when I get to the end of the trail," I replied, planning on passing them and doing just that thing.

"No," they said, taking even more room on the trail (if that's even possible), "you can check the other end" (indicating the way I came) "as you walk out."

I was furious and ready to rebutt, but suspected that they were right (they sure sounded certain). "Running causes too much impact; we've had to replace the trail once already," (said mournfully).

I turned and walked toward the exit (entrance) of the park in front of them. "So no running, no bikes, no dogs," I clarified (fuming).

"That's right; dog's sometimes go after things."

I assented, feeling like going after something myself at that moment. And then another runner came towards us, enjoying the afternoon run.

"Stop. There's no running on this trail," my new trail-protecting friends called out as they proceeded to block the trail again.

I took the opportunity and ran off toward the exit. I thought I heard a shout, but assumed that it was directed to the runner who didn't stop to chat (as I had). I called out a warning to a runner that I passed on the way out to freedom and a fast completion to my run.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Yeah, what he said. Woo hoo!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Good for you, Google!

Monday, January 16, 2006

This and That

For anyone even remotely interested in football (that would be me), it sure was a great football weekend. Especially if you're a Seattle and Denver fan (like the residents of my house).

Time to restart the count. I must say, I, too, was wishing for just a few drops yesterday.

At least I took advantage of a dry and occasionally sunny day to get in my longest run since Portland: 14 miles. While my knee started really hurting around mile 10, after stopping and stretching the pain eased, and my sciatic nerve thing that I've been feeling lately didn't feel too bad. I finished the run at a 9 minute mile pace overall. That's my goal pace for Boston: stay slow, and just try to come in under 4 hours.

For those who actually have a holiday today (I'm off to Federal Way for "Diversity Day" with my youth program), enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Big Game Day

Let's go Redskins!
Let's go Seahawks!

Hmm... guess I have to choose.

Monday, January 09, 2006

So, did you hear the one about the rainy weather in Seattle?

Apparently, news is out that it's been raining in the Pacific Northwest recently (or as some out-of-town relative put it "I hear that you've been having HORRIBLE weather!") So, let's set the record straight.

Myth: We've been having HORRIBLE weather!
Fact: We've had some form of rain every day for the last 3 weeks.

Now I personally don't see a little rain as horrible. These aren't monsoons we're talking about. No one has to pull their car off of the highway to see. There hasn't been any hail, or black ice, or tornados, or any precipitation that causes one to shovel their walks or temperatures cold enough to necessitate warming up ones car. So, to me, this isn't too bad, and I bike in it most days.

Speaking of which, it's Ride in the Rain month here at the University of Washington. Time to join a team and get points for biking to work or school in the rain (because, as I've already mentioned, it rains in January in Seattle). After all, if you can ride in this HORRIBLE weather, you can ride anytime! So far 4 out of my 7 rides thus far have required rain pants; not too horrible.
Let them eat cake!

This weekend I braved the crowds of brides and their entourages (not sure if that is the proper plural form) and went to the Seattle Wedding Show. Luckily for me, my sister agreed to accompany me, as I didn't want to go alone, and Jeff wasn't exactly pysched to go, despite the promise of cake.

Apparently, the holiday season (Thanksgiving - New Years) is the most popular time to get engaged, and June is the most popular time to get married, making January Wedding Planning Insanity Month (WPIM).

My sister had sent me some links to handy survival guides that along with the FAQ's on the show's website helped me properly prepare for the day.

Before going to the show, I wrote down all of my goals:
- check out a few gowns (one of my few local purchases)
- check out favors (another local purchase)
- get ideas for flowers and decorations
- eat cake
- have fun! (as learned from my stint in corporate American, this item is manditory on any comprehensive list of goals or objectives)

Fortunately, we've made a lot of the major decisions (wedding and reception locations, caterer, officiant, florist), and most of the remainder aren't local, so there was no need to really look for vendors or sign any contracts.

I went to the show wearing comfortable shoes, clothes that were easy to take on and off (for trying on gowns), armed with a camera, notebook, pen, water, and healthy snacks. The thing that I didn't do that I should have was bring preprinted labels with my name, contact info and wedding date.

During the show, Kate was great support: holding my stuff when I needed to fill out a form or try on a dress, finding things she knew I'd like, giving second opinion when asked and not providing one when not asked, keeping me focused on my goals, and generally being a lot of fun (check off that objective).

It was actually very helpful to go to the show. While I didn't buy anything, sign anything, or win anything, it helped to solidify decisions and get a clearer idea of what I was looking for. And, I tasted a lot of very yummy cake.

Photos are here.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Trail Note: Boston Bound

I finally registered for Boston this week, which means that I've committed to running a marathon in 3 1/2 months! This means I need to get serious about running again. I've been running 4 or 5 times a week (20 - 25 miles a week) since Portland, but not seriously. While my only goals for Boston are (1) to finish and (2) to not hurt too much so that I can enjoy myself and not injure myself, I'll have to really ramp up my running to do this.

I ran ~ 6 miles today and it felt as if I'd taken the entire holiday off. I was sluggish and heavy-feeling (I've gained a few holiday pounds), creaky and slow. Once I'd run a mile or two, however, I started feeling better again. As always, even a bad run feels good once it's done. Noted.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

About time for a new template. Stand by for tweaking.

It seems that everyone is anti-resolution these days, but I think that it's good to take that annual look at oneself and see what needs work. My resolutions for 2006 are:

1. Be more careful about what I eat. Specifically, this means less diet soda (I'd already cut the HFCS stuff), more organic, more local, and a closer eye at labels.

2. Try to relax a little bit: I'm finding that I'm getting crankier and more set in my ways. 33 is too young to turn into an old crank.

3. Stay in touch. Last year I said that I'd be better about staying in touch with email, but I really didn't make much progress. I'm going to have to figure out a way to actually do this one this year.

That's a good number for now, but if anyone has any great ones, let me know; I'm open to more tweaking.